Eric Knorr, from Infoworld had a very interesting perspective on the end the browser era:
It’s funny how cyclical technology can be. The early days of computing had mainframes and thin clients, then we went to desktop computing. The “Web 2.0” revolution (alright, I’ve succumb to the lingo bingo) is bringing us back to the thin client – now we are talking about the end of the second wave of thin clients – browsers and going back to desktop computing.
– I believe that browsers, like the OS, will become less relevant but will never go away. They will simply be a matter of preference. Browsers will always have a purpose – a common GUI framework that is safe (or should I say “safer” than desktop applications).
eBay asked EffectiveUI to build eBay Desktop not as a way to bypass the browser, but as a way to offer eBay’ers a richer, more engaging user experience – an experience that was not possible in a browser. Adobe AIR should be looked at as another tool to create applications that have more utility and purpose – to pick up where the browser leaves off. What is the most critical feature that Adobe AIR gives us? – It is certainly not its ability to make a connected desktop application. In combination with Flex, AIR gives us the ability to write once, and deploy anywhere (browser, OS – and soon mobile devises) – this is critical for large enterprises and small start-ups alike. These companies can now consolidate development efforts, focus on “getting good” at a more common, unified development practice, and not worry about cross-platform cross-browser compatibility issues. In other-words, they can now start focusing on more important things, like their customers …